The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has warned that a 'disproportionate and disturbing' decrease in the number of self-employed individuals will lead to a 'brittle workforce'.
IPSE's warning came following the publication of data by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which showed that the number of self-employed individuals fell by a record 238,000 in the second quarter of 2020.
IPSE blamed the decrease on gaps in government support for the self-employed during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic compared to more comprehensive support for employees.
Additionally, quarterly incomes for the self-employed have dropped by 25% following a reduction in the amount of work available to self-employed individuals.
Commenting on the matter, Derek Cribb, CEO of IPSE, said: 'In the second quarter of 2020, there was a disproportionate and disturbing slump in the number of self-employed in the UK – far more than among employees.
'Going into a recession, we would normally expect a jump not a slump in the number of self-employed, as businesses look to the flexible expertise they offer. However, with government policy driving down the number of self-employed, there is a real fear the UK workforce will become brittle and rigid just when it needs to be at its most agile.'